The father of a student at Texas A&M University-San Antonio died March 26 due to complications from COVID-19.
Adolph “T.J.” Mendez, a resident of New Braunfels, died at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, according to CBS Austin.
“There are no words to adequately describe the sadness we feel on behalf of this very dear member of our University community, Brenda Johnson, whose father, Adolph (T.J.) Mendez, became the first to die in Comal County due to complications of the virus,” said university President Cynthia Teniente-Matson in an email March 27.
Johnson, a psychology sophomore, spoke on behalf of her family in a written media statement, urging people to be responsible during this health crisis. After conducting several media interviews, Johnson wrote that she decided to decline future interview requests as she continues to self-quarantine. According to Matson’s email, Johnson has not been to campus since before spring break.
Johnson wrote that his symptoms started like those related to the common cold and slowly progressed to organ failure. On March 26, Mendez’s family was informed he had “a massive brain bleed and that there was nothing more the doctors could do for him.” He was taken off life support that afternoon.
“We want people to know that they need to take this pandemic SERIOUSLY – it is not just something that happens across the world,” Johnson wrote. “This can happen to anyone just as it did us.”
According to Johnson, her father did not die alone, despite his family being unable to be at the hospital with him because of health precautions.
“All of his medical team was constantly in contact with us and made sure to tell us that he was never alone and that everyone there was praying for him,” Johnson wrote. “Before they unplugged him, they let us speak with him, they put the phone on speakerphone and all of his family were able to say goodbye. The nurses held his hands the whole time and made sure to tell us that he was never alone throughout his entire stay. We are beyond grateful for all of his medical staff! We know they did everything in their power to save my dad.”
According to Johnson, Mendez was a 44-year-old father of six. Johnson said he was healthy and had no underlying health issues.
“We are a family that strongly believes in God and we know we are going to see him again one day,” Johnson wrote. “We know that everything happens for a reason and it is all a part of His plan. My dad was always faithful. We find peace in knowing that our TJ is smiling down at us from heaven.”